Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXIV: Sketches of the Strife >> Page 219

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SKETCHES OF THE STRIFE. 219
awful terrors. Yet her emotions were not less active, her feel-
ings not less susceptible and warm, than those of her com-
panion. It was, indeed, because her consciousness was so
deep, her love so abiding, her fears so thick and overflowing,
that she had no audible emotions. The waters of her heart
were too far down for display ; it is only in the shallows that
the breakers leap up, and chafe, and murmur. They speak
not for themselves, but for the overfull and heaving ocean that
gathers and settles, gloomily and great, in the distance. The
clamor of her cousin's fear had spoken for hers ; and yet how
full of voice, how touching the language of silence, when we
know that the full heart is running over. How thrilling is the
brief, gasping, sudden exclamation, which utters all, because
we feel that it has uttered nothing !
She sat with her hands clasped ; her soul sad and sick, but
strong ; her eyes intently gazing, as if they would burst from
their sockets, upon the wild scene of confusion going on around
her. And when the strife began warmly in the first stage,
and before the house was fired when she knew nothing of
the progress of events, and heard nothing but the sharp and
frequent shot, without knowing what had been its effect ; when
the shriek of agony reached her ears faintly from afar, and
there came no word to her to say that the wounded victim was
not the one, of all in that controversy, to whom her thought
and her prayer were most entirely given it was then that
she felt the agony which yet she did not speak. In her mind
she strove to think a prayer for his success and for his safety,
and sometimes the words of aspiration were muttered brokenly
from her lips ; but the prayer died away in her heart, and the
dreadful incidents of earth going on around her kept back her
thoughts from God.
A terrible cry of satisfaction was uttered by the partisans,
as in the conflict they beheld one of the defenders of the
house distinctly fall back from the window at which he had
exposed himself. The rifle had been too quick and fatal for
his escape. The sound smote upon the senses of Janet with a
new fear ; and Rose, in her childish terror, nearly dragged her
from the seat.